"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them close to his heart, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Saturday, January 8, 2011

"It's the Brain"

Another walk down memory lane today...

One year ago today, I left the kids at home with Dave and drove to Strathmore (30 min. drive) for my regular prenatal appointment.  I was glad to have some alone time in the van, to listen to music, to just be quiet...We assumed that we wouldn't learn anything new about the ultrasound, that he would know just as much as we did.   

As I walked into one of the rooms, I saw my Doctor sitting at the desk - looking at some papers.  And he looked so very serious, and almost distraught. It was like he didn't want to be there.... And I knew in an instant that he was looking at our ultrasound results.  I think I had started to say something like "yeah - that was a tough ultrasound or something" and before I knew it I was sitting and he was saying to me "I'm so sorry. It's the brain." Those words hit me like a ton of bricks.  And then I think I said "But I asked about the brain - she said it was fine. I thought it was her heart." I was so stunned by what was happening...

I felt like I was stuck in some horrible dream.  On all the previous visits, I had walked in there, chatted with my doctor about the weather, our kids, everything else - then we heard the heart beat, checked my BP, and I went home...Wasn't that the way this was suppossed to happen too? 

Instead I was having a conversation about the anatomy of my baby's brain.  And about an obviously enlarged area which indicated serious problems in development.  He said the left hemisphere of the brain was enlarged - and not draining fluid properly.  Or maybe he used the word ventricle - and I wondered if that's why I had thought the technicians were talking about her heart? To this day I still can't remember.  It might be in that stack of papers that I can't bear to go through....But I couldn't wrap my mind around it that day.  It didn't make sense to me.  I kept asking him about the other things I thought were wrong - the heart and other organs.  (the report said that they were having trouble placing them) I was afraid of missing my chance to ask questions but at the same time - I couldn't comprehend his answers.  

He tried to encourage me saying that sometimes these things turn out to be nothing.  He gave me an example of a couple that had divorced after receiving similar news - the husband wanted her to abort and she refused.  In the end the child was born healthy.  He gave other examples and knowing our faith - he knew that we would choose to continue this pregnancy.  He wanted to encourage us in this.  Because we couldn't see the ending yet...

And I clung to those stories.  I somehow managed to walk out of the doors and into the van.  And then I called Dave on the cell phone.  I remember trying very hard to stay calm and barely getting out the words, "Dave it's the brain." I still cry now when I remember that morning.  Dave remembers too what it was like to hear me say those words.  It was such a beautiful clear day....and when I got out of Strathmore, I started crying and I didn't think I could stop.  

I had worked with special needs adults before - and I think that experience made me less afraid of having a child with disabilities.  And I wasn't naive about pregnancy - I knew there was always a possibility of having a child with special needs.  But hearing these words was another thing altogether.  I felt so completely unprepared for what might be ahead.  Of course, how could I even prepare for something like this? And it's not like I could research a certain syndrome on the computer....and I would have if I could.  I tried to remind myself that I was jumping ahead to all the 'what if's before really knowing and seeing my own child.  But it was so very hard.     

That was January 8, a year ago.  It would be another difficult wait - another week and a half before we got the rest of the news.  I remember sending out an email to a wider group of friends that day.  And I remember feeling like I was being held up by strength that was not my own.  I know some would say what I was feeling was 'shock'.  I really believe it was more than that.  I am not sure I have ever experienced something like it.  I knew that so many people were praying...and I knew that God was with us.         

Thank-you. Thank-you for praying for us in those early days.    


Anonymous said...


I have been following your blog for a while now and never commented except when you were looking for baby clothes. I am a friend of Rachel F. and also a friend of a friend of Sweet Abby and her mom Jen. (I had always wondered if you had known them or met them because of the flames house.) My Heart and prayers go out to them at this time.
I wanted to let you know that though most of your blog comments move me, todays really hit me hard with the realization of how similar this beginning was to one of my pregnancies. My second daughter had venticulomegaly (a word that sounds like they might possibly have given you too) were her left ventricle in the brain was first above the normal range, then borderline, then back into the normal range just before birth. But it was a long pregnancy with lots of ultrasounds, prayers and friends praying and giving a listening ear to our worry. After all that, my daughter was born healthy but this blog has reminded me of the seriousness of what we were dealing with during my pregnancy and my fears of the unknown outcomes. You have reminded me again of how precious life is and to love and cherish each moment with our kids. To not take them for granted and to enjoy holding on to them. My third Daughter is only five days younger than Rachal and so I also feel another small connection to her. Thank you for your words and letting us follow you in your walk through this. May you continue to hold on to, each day, God's strength


Emily Garvin said...

This post brought me to tears. I know all too well the feeling of remembering where you were at this time last year, before your whole world changed. My heart goes out to you and your family. I will continue to pray for strength and hope for all of you. Please keep writing - your words are more of an ecouragement than you could possibly know.
Emily G.

Carol Taves said...

We are still praying for you, and will continue through the good times and the bad. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Bless you, Kendra.

Valerie Ruth said...

wow what a month of memories. holding you up from far away, sis.